One of the best part time MBA programs

What Are the Best Part Time MBA Programs?

August 13, 2021
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Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. What are Part Time MBA programs?Part 3. Benefits of Part Time MBA ProgramsPart 4. Cons of Part Time MBA ProgramsPart 5. Who are Part Time Programs Suited For?Part 6. Part Time MBA Programs Vs. Full Time MBA Programs Part 7. 5 Best MBA ProgramsPart 8. FAQsPart 9. Conclusion


Candidates looking to complete their MBA at a top business school have the option of completing the program on a part time basis. Students at most institutions earn the same degree with the same credentials whether or not they studied full time or part time.

Part time programs may be the best academic route for some students, and this guide will help you decide if a part time MBA is best for you. In this article, we will explore the benefits and consequences of a part time program and how they differ from full time programs. The best part time programs and what you need to apply are outlined below.

What Are Part Time MBA Programs?

Part time MBA programs are completed at a slower, more relaxed pace than full time programs. There are two main types of part time MBA programs. The first is Executive MBA (EMBA) which is designed for students who currently hold leadership roles in their jobs.

Often these students have years of work experience under their belts and are commonly between the ages of 32 to 42 when they enter their program. These programs focus heavily on networking, but there is generally little intermingling between MBA and EMBA students. These programs typically have much smaller class sizes than full time MBA programs and come with hefty price tags (employers are usually expected to pay some or all of a student’s tuition). 

The other option is the part time MBA, sometimes called the Professional MBA (PMBA) or the fully-employed MBA (FEMBA). These programs are often aimed at those who work full time and do not hold a leadership role.

Typically, students entering a part time MBA program are between the ages of 24 and 35. Part time MBA programs are usually completed in the evenings or on weekends.

Benefits of Part Time MBA Programs 

Part time MBA programs are beneficial to students in numerous ways. Perhaps the most favorable element of part time learning is the ability to keep working your full time job. Because of this, part time programs offer working students a greater level of financial security as they progress toward their MBA.

Part time programs are also structured around students' schedules and duties, taking into account work and family or community responsibilities. Students doing a part time MBA will often take about three years to complete their degrees. During this time, students can apply and practice what they learn immediately in a job setting. 

Part time programs are generally viewed as less competitive than full time programs and you may have a higher chance of admission. For example, Michigan Ross School of Business’ part time acceptance rate was nearly 50 percent higher than full time programs (26.3 percent versus 74.4 percent). A recent survey showed that Berkely Haas’ exclusive full time program had a 12 percent acceptance rate versus a 47.4 acceptance rate for their part time program for the same education. Pursuing a part time MBA program can boost your chances of admission. 

Cons of Part Time MBA Programs

Although there are numerous pros to enrolling in a part time program, there are some consequences as well. The first is that it may be difficult for some students to juggle pursuing their MBA on evenings and weekends, adding to the stresses of their daily work and family lives.

Although the part time program can provide you with a balance between work and education, that doesn't mean it’s necessarily an easy thing to do. Along with the stress of maintaining a healthy work/life/school balance, some may find that their experience is not as immersive as if they had pursued a full time program.

Additionally, part time programs do not lend themselves well to those looking to make a career change - there are no summer internships built-in to the program to facilitate experience in a new field. Another possible challenge is related to financial resources.

Part time students have less access to scholarships and often must rely on their savings or employer sponsorship. Despite having an income from a full time job, finding enough money to enroll in a program comfortably may be a barrier for many candidates.

Who are Part Time Programs Suited For?

The purpose of part time MBA programs is to allow candidates to advance their careers in a flexible way that does not sacrifice their job. Here’s how to know if a part time MBA program is right for you. 

1. You have a great deal of work experience and don’t want to switch careers.

Part time MBA programs are best suited for those who are content in their current industry. According to Kim Clark, the former dean of Harvard Business School, students don’t turn down a chance to go to Harvard for another school; they do so because they have great work opportunities.

If you know you have the opportunity to climb higher in the corporate ladder at your place of work, a part time MBA can be an excellent fit for you. Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, the former admissions dean and director at Cornell and the University of Michigan, said that “Part time programs are perfect for the 24-35-year-old career enhancer but rarely serve the career changer.

Part timers typically do not have the same access to comprehensive career services as full time programs because company presentations and interviews are typically held during the day.” If you are comfortable with a lower level of career support and feel stable in your field, a part time MBA can be a great asset to your career. 

2. You cannot afford to pursue a full time program.

Part time programs are generally less expensive, and you can enjoy your regular salary while you learn. When it comes to full time programs, the most considerable cost of an MBA is not the tuition price but rather the lost wages you have to give up during your MBA program. Part time MBAs alleviate this major financial stressor.

3. You have home or community responsibilities.

Maybe you have a mortgage to pay or a spouse and children to support. Perhaps you are caring for elderly parents or other persons. In these circumstances, quitting your job to pursue a full time MBA may not be a viable path. Part time MBA programs can give you a much more flexible schedule to balance your family obligations with your work and education. 

Part Time MBA Programs Vs. Full Time MBA Programs 

There are significant similarities between part time and full time programs, but there are key differences to keep in mind. 


  • MBA degree: At most institutions, full time and part time programs will result in the same degree.
  • Alumni Networks: You will be able to benefit from the same alumni networks
  • Classes: Many of the courses will be similar between full time and part time degrees at respective schools. 
  • Faculty and Staff: Both programs usually share the same faculty. 
  • Financial Benefits: Whether a student studies on a full time or part time basis, MBA graduates can double their salaries within three years after completing their MBA. 


Differences between part time and full time MBA programs

  • Post-MBA Goals: Full time programs are better suited for candidates interested in switching career paths and broadening their opportunities. Part time programs are better suited for individuals who want to remain in their current industry but desire advancement in their workplace. 
  • Duration: Most full time programs take one to two years to complete. Part time programs can take between two and six years to complete. 
  • Structure: Full time programs are generally completed during the week in the daytime and follow a rigid structure. Part time programs are more flexible and are typically completed in the evenings and on weekends. 
  • Financial: Students in full time programs cannot hold down a full time job during their studies and will forfeit wages while they are studying. In addition to lost salaries, full time program tuition costs can also be expensive. Part time students do not lose their wages and may be offered tuition assistance from their employers. 

The bottom line is that you will likely end up with the same degree and post-MBA benefits regardless of which path you choose to take. The differences outlined above can guide which program may suit you better depending on your aspirations and obligations. 

5 Best MBA Programs

If you’ve decided that a part time program is a proper structure for you, your next step is to choose a program. Deciding on a school can be an overwhelming task, so below are some top-ranked MBA programs for your consideration. 

1. University of Chicago (Booth) 

University of Chicago (Booth) School of Business offers two part time MBA programs along with a full time program: the Evening MBA program and the Weekend MBA program. Both the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA allow students to complete their MBA in an average of 2.5 to 3 years, with 13 concentrations and over 130 classes to tailor your experience. 

What You Need to Apply

  • Two essays answering the questions, “Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth, and why is Chicago Booth's Evening MBA or Weekend MBA your program of choice?” and “How has your family, culture, and/or environment influenced you as a leader?”
  • University transcripts
  • Executive Assessment (EA), GMAT or GRE scores
  • English language exam (if you are a non-native English speaker)
  • Application fee of $175

Class Profile

Recent data shows that 1267 students were enrolled in part time programs at the University of Chicago. The following list shows the class profile from a student survey

Evening MBA:
  • GPA (Mid-80%) : 2.7–3.8
  • GMAT (Mid-80%): 610–730
  • Average GRE Verbal: 159 
  • Average GRE Quant: 160 
  • Gender: 31% Female
  • Work Experience (Mid-80%):  2–11 Years
  • International Students: 14%
  • Students with an Advanced Degree: 27%
Weekend MBA: 
  • Gender: 19% Female
  • GPA (Mid-80%): 2.6–3.9
  • GMAT (Mid-80%): 620–743
  • Average GRE Verbal: 160
  • Average GRE Quant: 160
  • Work Experience (Mid-80%): 3–10 Years
  • Students Living outside Illinois: 77%
  • Students with an advanced degree: 43%
  • International Students: 25%

2. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)

Berkeley offers an Evening & Weekend MBA, a part time program completed in 2.5 to 3 years. Students can choose whether to attend classes two evenings a week or all day on Saturdays. Electives make up over half of the course curriculum, allowing students to benefit from a highly personalized learning structure. 

What You Need to Apply 

  • An online application 
  • Two essays answering, “Please share a facet of your identity or story that is essential to who you are,” and “ What do you need to develop to become a successful leader?”
  • A professional resume
  • University transcripts
  • EA, GMAT, or GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which should be from your current direct supervisor
  • Two video interview questions 
  • English language exam (if you are a non-native English speaker)
  • Application fee of $200

Class Profile

Recent data shows that 314 part time students were enrolled in the program at Berkeley. Below is a summarization of the class demographic. 

  • A median age of 30
  • 36% women 
  • 8% underrepresented minorities
  • students from 24 countries
  • Median GMAT: 700
  • Middle 80% work experience: 5-12 years 

According to Poets and Quants, recent data suggested that Berkeley's acceptance rate was 12 percent for full time and a whopping 47.4% for part time, quadrupling an applicant's chance of admission. 

3. Northwestern University (Kellogg) 

Kellogg offers an Evening & Weekend MBA program that can be completed over an average of 2.5 years. Students have the choice of earning their MBAs by attending class either every Saturday or just once a week on an evening of their choosing.

The academic experience is customizable, with more than 100 electives to choose from along with core classes. Kellogg also offers students the opportunity to complete their part time MBA program at a traditional or accelerated pace. 

What You Need to Apply 

  • Two essays answering the questions, “Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn?” and “Values are what guide you in life and work. What values are important to you, and how have they influenced you?”
  • A professional resume
  • University transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation, addressing specific questions 
  • English Language Proficiency Examinations (TOEFL and IELTS) if you are a non-native English speaker
  • Application fee of $185

Class Profile

According to recent data, 489 students were enrolled in Kellogg’s part time MBA program. Below is a summarization of data collected from the university on class demographics. 

  • An age range of 25-33
  • 3 - 10 years of work experience 
  • 29% US minority 
  • 34% women 
  • 8% international
  • 65% of students living outside of Illinois  

4. New York University (Stern)

Stern offers a part time MBA that can be completed in 2 to 6 years. Students have the option to attend classes on either weeknights or weekends, as well as an accelerated two-year option. The weeknight option is the most popular MBA program, where classes meet between Monday and Thursday evenings twice a week.

The Saturday option has students take two courses every Saturday. The Accelerated Two-Year Option is a unique path for students to complete their MBAs quickly on a part time basis and offered only on weeknights. 

What You Need to Apply 

  • An online application 
  • You can choose to write an additional essay to share more information with the admissions committee
  • A professional resume
  • University transcripts
  • EA, GMAT or GRE scores, or a waiver 
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test if the candidate is a non-native English speaker 
  • Application fee of $95

Recent data suggest that at NYU Stern, the part time acceptance rate is 68.1% compared to the full time acceptance rate of 23.2%. 

5. University of California - Anderson School of Management 

UCLA Anderson offers the Fully Employed MBA program with three flexible options for program structure. Students can choose to complete their MBAs on Saturdays all day, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, or a hybrid schedule on-campus and online. The part time program typically takes 2.5 to 3 years to complete. 

What You Need to Apply 

  • Two mandatory essay responses to the prompts, “Tell us about the formative experiences--personal, academic, professional--that make you who you are,” and “Where do you want your career to go next and how does the UCLA Anderson Fully Employed MBA Program support you achieving your goals? What do you see yourself contributing to the learning community at UCLA Anderson?”
  • You can choose to write an additional essay to share more information with the admissions committee. 
  • A professional resume
  • University transcripts
  • EA, GMAT, or GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • English Language Proficiency Examinations (TOEFL and IELTS) if you are a non-native English speaker 
  • Application fee of $200

Class Profile

According to recent data, 377 applicants for UCLA Anderson’s FEMBA were accepted. Below is a summarization of data collected from the university on class demographics. 

  • 236 males and 141 females
  • An average age of 30 
  • 12% underrepresented minorities 
  • Median GMAT of 660 
  • Average of 6 years work experience 
  • majority of applicants coming from the entertainment industry 

UCLA Anderson’s School of Management accepts 64.1% of all part time applicants, according to recent data


1. How long do I have to complete my part time MBA? 

Some programs will allow students to take up to five or six years to complete their MBA, but the timelines are program-specific. Most part time MBAs take around three years to complete. 

2. Do part time MBAs offer work placements? 

Part time MBAs do not typically offer work placements because students are normally already fully employed. If you’re looking for a career switch, you may want to consider a full time MBA program. 

3. Will my networking opportunities be the same in a part time program? 

Networking opportunities are program-specific, but part time MBA students typically do not have the same networking opportunities as full time students. They may also receive less career support because they are perceived as already happy in their current company or industry. 

4. Can I do my part time MBA online? 

Some MBA programs can be completed entirely online, in-person, or follow a hybrid structure. Your program's design will depend on what school you are attending, but an online MBA can cut all of your commute time and give you ultimate flexibility. 

5. What if I’m unemployed? Can I still apply for a part time MBA while I search for a job? 

The answer to this will be school-specific, but some schools may accept unemployed candidates into a part time MBA program. If this is your circumstance, explain why the part time MBA program is a much better fit for you than the full time MBA program and what you have to offer your prospective class. 

6.  Is a part time MBA less valuable than a full time MBA?

Most institutions offer the same degree upon completing your MBA program, whether you decide to attend part time or full time. Numerous reports are suggesting that hiring managers do not have a preference for which structure you choose. Duke University MBA Sam Lee says, “I’ve never heard a hiring manager ask me if I did my MBA full time or part time, and as a hiring manager myself, I never once asked a candidate that question either; it’s simply not relevant.” If you choose the program that works best for your goals and lifestyle, you are making the right choice. 


Completing your MBA part time is a great option and can provide the flexibility you need to make your education a priority. Whether you have personal obligations or you’re on a career path that you love, a part time MBA can be the best way to cultivate your skills in a manageable way. Be sure to weigh your options when deciding to attend courses on a full time or part time basis, and make the decision that you think suits you best.

The best part time MBA programs list above will provide you with some background about what a part time MBA entails and what admissions committees expect from you. If you do your research and find a program that caters to your needs and aspirations, you are making the right choice in investing in yourself.

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At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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